Quotations of Wisdom

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Mohandas Gandhi

A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion. [Q553]


Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers. [Q495]

Michel de Montaigne

Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know. [Q1174]

Ken Kesey

Take what you can use and let the rest go by. [Q1506]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every fact is related on one side to sensation, and, on the other, to morals. The game of thought is, on the appearance of one of these two sides, to find the other: given the upper, to find the under side. [Q410]

David Foster Wallace

This diagnosis can be done in about two lines. It doesn't engage anybody. [Q984]


One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. [Q889]

George McGovern

Let the opposition collect their $10 million in secret money from the privileged few and let us find one million ordinary Americans who will contribute $25 each to this campaign, a Million Member Club with members who will not expect special favors for themselves but a better land for us all. — 1972 Democratic Convention, Miami Florida [Q2026]

Buckminster Fuller

When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong. [Q117]

Adlai Stevenson

All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions. [Q1644]

John F. Kennedy

...if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children`s future. And we are all mortal. [Q1276]

Brian Kernigan

Controlling complexity is the essence of computer programming. [Q673]

Václav Havel

People have passed through a very dark tunnel at the end of which there was a light of freedom. Unexpectedly they passed through the prison gates and found themselves in a square. They are now free and they don't know where to go. [Q1762]

Murray Gell-Mann

I have been interested in phenomena involving complexity, diversity and evolution since I was a young boy. [Q979]


You may be always victorious if you will never enter into any contest where the issue does not wholly depend upon yourself. [Q831]

Saint Francis of Assisi

While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart. [Q1402]

Yunus Emre

Ask those who know...

Ask those who know, what's this soul within the flesh? Reality's own power. What blood fills these veins?

Thought is an errand boy, fear a mine of worries. These sighs are love's clothing. Who is the Khan on the throne?

Give thanks for His unity. He created when nothing existed. And since we are actually nothing, what are possessions, houses, shops?

God sent us here to come and see the world. This world itself is not everlasting. What are all of Solomon's riches?

Ask Yunus and Taptuk what the world means to them. The world won't last. What are You? What am I


Václav Havel

Our civilization has essentially globalized only the surfaces of our lives. But our inner self continues to have a life of its own. And the fewer answers the era of rational knowledge provides to the basic questions of human Being, the more deeply it would seem that people, behind its back as it were, cling to the ancient certainties of their tribe. Because of this, individual cultures, increasingly lumped together by contemporary civilization, are realizing with new urgency their own inner autonomy and the inner differences of others. [Q1804]

Thomas Jefferson

With all the imperfections of our present government, it is without comparison the best existing, or that ever did exist. [Q195]

Václav Havel

You may ask what kind of republic I dream of. Let me reply: I dream of a republic independent, free, and democratic, of a republic economically prosperous and yet socially just; in short, of a humane republic that serves the individual and that therefore holds the hope that the individual will serve it in turn. Of a republic of well-rounded people, because without such people it is impossible to solve any of our problems — human, economic, ecological, social, or political. [Q1794]

Senator Paul Simon

Thoughtfully re-examining positions that often are based on emotion more than anything should be part of the search for truth. And careful analysis should include looking at the context and culture and times in which those who wrote ancient documents lived. [Q1691]

Thurgood Marshall

None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. [Q755]


Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fantasies. To teach superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing. The child mind accepts and believes them, and only through great pain and perhaps tragedy can he be in after years relieved of them. [Q1404]

Christopher Alexander

The structure of life I have described in buildings - the structure which I believe to be objective - is deeply and inextricably connected with the human person, and with the innermost nature of human feeling. [Q672]

Wendell Berry

We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. [Q1321]

John Boyd Orr

When the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century brought a rapid increase in wealth, the demand of workers for a fair share of the wealth they were creating was conceded only after riots and strikes. [Q1159]


I don't need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better. [Q777]

Alice in Wonder Land

It was much pleasanter at home, thought poor Alice, when one wasn't always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and rabbits. I almost wish I hadn't gone down that rabbit-hole — and yet — and yet — it's rather curious, you know, this sort of life! I do wonder what can have happened to me! When I used to read fairy-tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one! There ought to be a book written about me, that there ought! And when I grow up, I'll write one. [Q1981]

Marshall McLuhan

In this electronic age we see ourselves being translated more and more into the form of information, moving toward the technological extension of consciousness. [Q1461]

George Washington Carver

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these. [Q315]

Max Born

I am now convinced that theoretical physics is actually philosophy. [Q1268]

Dar Williams

And where does magic come from? I think that magic's in the learning. [Q1958]

René Descartes

The first precept was never to accept a thing as true until I knew it as such without a single doubt. [Q1121]


Democracy... is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike. [Q878]

Buckminster Fuller

If humanity does not opt for integrity we are through completely. It is absolutely touch and go. Each one of us could make the difference. [Q109]

Woodrow Wilson

If you want to make enemies, try to change something. [Q747]

James Mill

Some ideas are by frequency and strength of association so closely combined that they cannot be separated; if one exists, the other exists along with it in spite of whatever effort we make to disjoin them [Q1443]

Adlai Stevenson II

The real patriots are those who love America as she is, but who want the beloved to be more lovable. This is not treachery. This, as every parent, every teacher, every friend must know, is the truest and noblest affection. [Q1846]

Senator Paul Simon

The Telecommunication Act of 1996 passed overwhelmingly. I cast one of six votes against it. The measure contained some good things, but it opened the door wide for concentrated ownership in radio and television. Since its passage there has been a huge shift in radio toward a few large corporations owning all the major outlets. In St. Louis, for example, six of the fourteen stations are now owned by one corporation that has holdings all over the nation. The value of radio stations shot up after the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and soon the top three corporations in radio ownership had sold everything to one company ... Can I say that up to this point this has caused any harm? No, but it will. — (Paul Simon's Autobiography, page 297) [Q1817]

Galileo Galilei

Where the senses fail us, reason must step in. [Q944]

Scott Nesler

Certainty needs not faith, doubt has faith of mistakes. [Q48]

Galileo Galilei

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. [Q938]

Oscar Wilde

Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason. [Q287]


There must always remain something that is antagonistic to good. [Q903]

Isaac Asimov

Suppose that we are wise enough to learn and know - and yet not wise enough to control our learning and knowledge, so that we use it to destroy ourselves? Even if that is so, knowledge remains better than ignorance. [Q702]

Carl Sagan

The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition. [Q228]


Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do. [Q63]


From a single action, you draw an entire universe. Could you not see I had nothing to protect? — Kung Fu television series 1972 [Q519]

The Pragmatic Programmer

Conventional wisdom says that once a project is in the coding phase, the work is mostly mechanical, transcribing the design into executable statements. We think that this attitude is the single biggest reason that many programs are ugly, inefficient, poorly structured, unmaintainable, and just plain wrong. [Q168]

Dante Alighieri

The more perfect a thing is, the more susceptible to good and bad treatment it is. [Q1515]


Those who gave thee a body, furnished it with weakness; but He who gave thee Soul, armed thee with resolution. Employ it, and thou art wise; be wise and thou art happy. [Q1257]

George Berkeley

That one idea may suggest another to the mind, it will suffice that they have been observed to go together, without any demonstration of the necessity of their coexistence, or so much as knowing what it is that makes them so to coexist. [Q1441]

Scott Nesler

Hating your government is like hating your children. Sure they get on your nerves. They get into trouble. They go against so much of what you were taught and believe in. Your job is not to condemn, but to guide them in the right direction. [Q1606]

Clarence Darrow

As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever. [Q1092]

Andy Kaufman

I just want real reactions. I want people to laugh from the gut, be sad from the gut-or get angry from the gut. [Q234]

Edward de Bono

The to-and-fro of political argument has little constructive or creative force. This is because argument was never intended to be creative or constructive. Argument is meant to reveal the truth, not create it. Argument can oppose a bad idea and can modify, and thereby improve, a good idea. But it does not design new ideas any more than garden shears grow a garden. Politicians, however, do not have to be creative. For ideas they listen to their advisers and analysts. (from the book, I am Right, you are wrong. Page 22. [Q2002]

David Hume

It's when we start working together that the real healing takes place... it's when we start spilling our sweat, and not our blood. [Q1358]

Blaise Pascal

We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end. [Q592]

Scott Nesler

Shoot, ready, aim is not a formula for success. [Q84]


The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching. [Q862]

Joseph Franklin Rutherford

If you are kept in ignorance of the true way and permit yourself to rely upon and be guided by the opinion of imperfect man, you can never gain the riches that will bring you peace and lasting happiness. [Q720]


Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in excellence; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are good in themselves. [Q857]

Bill Gates

The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow. [Q1292]

Theodore Roosevelt

The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency. [Q1288]

Anne Lamott

I am very devout, but I don't have certainty or conviction. The opposite of faith isn't doubt; it's certainty. [Q43]

John Searle

In many cases it is a matter for decision and not a simple matter of fact whether x understands y; and so on. [Q1186]

Jesse Jackson

Deliberation and debate is the way you stir the soul of our democracy. [Q1548]

Václav Havel

Man is in fact nailed down — like Christ on the Cross — to a grid of paradoxes . . . he balances between the torment of not knowing his mission and the joy of carrying it out, between nothingness and meaningfulness. And like Christ, he is in fact victorious by virtue of his defeats. [Q1764]

Jack Kerouac

Offer them what they secretly want and they of course immediately become panic-stricken. [Q2099]

Thomas Jefferson

Power is not alluring to pure minds. [Q200]

David Brock

It's all a sham: I have seen, and I know firsthand, indeed from my own pen, how the organized Right has sabotaged not only journalism but also democracy and truth. [Q622]

Thor Heyerdahl

A civilized nation can have no enemies, and one cannot draw a line across a map, a line that doesn't even exist in nature and say that the ugly enemy lives on the one side, and good friends live on the other. [Q1530]

Master Po

Young Caine, when I was a boy, I fell into a hole in the ground and I was broken and could not climb out. I might have died there but a stranger came along and saved me. He said it was his obligation. That for help he had once received, he must in return help ten others each of whom would then help ten others so that good deeds would spread out like the ripples from a pebble in a pond. I was one of his ten and you became one of mine. And now I pass this obligation on to you. — Kung Fu Televison Series 1972 - Episode #6 [Q526]

Charles Lindbergh

I believe that for permanent survival, man must balance science with other qualities of life, qualities of body and spirit as well as those of mind - qualities he cannot develop when he lets mechanics and luxury insulate him too greatly from the earth to which he was born. [Q1942]

Václav Havel

We had all become used to the totalitarian system and accepted it as an unchangeable fact and thus helped to perpetuate it. In other words, we are all — though naturally to differing extents — responsible for the operation of the totalitarian machinery. None of us is just its victim. We are all also its co-creators. [Q1788]

Douglas Rushkoff

Programming is the sweet spot, the high leverage point in a digital society. If we don’t learn to program, we risk being programmed ourselves. [Q1291]

Arlo Guthrie

Everyone has a responsibility to not only tolerate another person's point of view, but also to accept it eagerly as a challenge to your own understanding. And express those challenges in terms of serving other people. [Q352]

The Beatles

Life is very short, and there's no time, for fussing and fighting, my friend. — We Can Work It Out [Q1373]

John Steinbeck

What a frightening thing is the human, a mass of gauges and dials and registers, and we can only read a few and those perhaps not accurately. &ndash The Winter of Our Discontent [Q2017]

Jean-Paul Marat

God has always been hard on the poor. [Q1520]

Herbert Simon

Maybe we ought to have a world in which things are divided between people kind of fairly. [Q644]

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Every idea is an incitement... Eloquence may set fire to reason. [Q1077]

Albert Einstein

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. [Q2022]

Barack Obama

There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America. [Q53]

Mark Twain

There are lies, damned lies and statistics. [Q365]

Titus Maccius Plautus

Modus omnibus in rebus - In everything the middle course is best, all things in excess brings contention. — Poenulus [Q1218]

Jim Lehrer

As I say, I'm a discourse advocate. What form it comes is less important to me than the fact that there is discourse. [Q480]

Herman Hesse

In Germany I have been acknowledged again since the fall of Hitler, but my works, partly suppressed by the Nazis and partly destroyed by the war; have not yet been republished there. [Q996]

Mohandas Gandhi

It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err. [Q566]

Václav Havel

Modern man must descend the spiral of his own absurdity to the lowest point; only then can he look beyond it. It is obviously impossible to get around it, jump over it, or simply avoid it. [Q1749]

Sim Van der Ryn

The best design experience occur when no one can claim credit for the solution – when the solution grows and evolves organically out a particular situation, process, and pattern of communication. [Q345]


Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more truth we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for understanding those that lie beyond. [Q1236]

Kevin Eubanks

If you do the right thing for the right reasons and you keep a cool head while doing it ... it will all work out. — Interview on NPR Talk of the Nation. [Q550]


There is no such thing as justice in the abstract; it is merely a compact between men. [Q807]

Walter Cronkite

Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine. [Q623]

Anonymous Professor Stanford University

The only advice I might offer to your design process is to imitate nature: use evolution. By this I mean to design many experiments, test your assumptions and designs with those you are designing for, and iteratively improve your designs based upon what you learn. [Q483]

Thomas Jefferson

Preach... a crusade against ignorance; establish and improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils [of monarchial government]. [Q540]

John Boyd Orr

When the fabric of society is so rigid that it cannot change quickly enough, adjustments are achieved by social unrest and revolutions. [Q1158]


Do not talk a little on many subjects, but much on a few. [Q925]

Maurice Strong

One of the things that I've always thought I would like to do is to develop an environmental index. Then people can measure their own environmental performance on an index as they do in other ways. [Q452]

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